He’s signed a massive tax cut into law, stacked the federal courts, waged a trade war against China, and eliminated the leader of ISIS—and yet, Donald Trump still longs for his job as a reality-TV host.
Since taking office in early 2017, the president has confided to close associates that he misses hosting The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice on NBC, the reality-TV staples he left behind to become the Republican Party standard-bearer and then the leader of the free world. Trump has waxed nostalgic about how he created what he sees as the greatest thing reality television has ever seen. Two sources who’ve spoken to him recall Trump saying that he will perhaps one day revisit the medium.
And it may not just be fits of nostalgia.
According to three people with knowledge of the situation and another source close to Trump, Apprentice creator Mark Burnett and the president have sporadically kept in touch, mostly over the phone, since Trump won the election. The pair remain friends, these sources say, and have discussed reviving their creative partnership, pitching each other details on potential TV projects to be filmed after the Trump presidency.
One of the ideas kicked around by Burnett and the president was shooting a new version of the Trump-branded Apprentice, tentatively titled The Apprentice: White House, and to produce it shortly after the president leaves office. This time, however, the TV program would be explicitly politics-themed and take full advantage of Trump’s status as a former president of the United States and a newfound Republican kingmaker.
“There have been several discussions between Burnett and Trump about The Apprentice: White House,” a person with knowledge of the situation told The Daily Beast. “It is something Burnett thinks could be a money-spinner and Trump is very keen on doing.”
Another one of the knowledgeable sources said, “They actually talked about an Apprentice: White House,” but conceded that “as far as I know, the discussion did not go far.”
The relationship between Burnett and Trump has been an object of immense speculation and fascination since the former began his political rise.
Their work together hit its peak in the early and mid-Aughts. And they grew so close that Burnett’s son Cameron was the ring-bearer at Trump’s 2005 wedding to Melania. During the campaign, Burnett faced intense pressure to release unaired footage of Apprentice tapings after it became clear that the behind-the-scenes drama showed Trump in a highly unfavorable light. The future president reportedly covered for actor Gary Busey after an alleged sexual-assault incident on-set, repeatedly called rapper Lil Jon an “Uncle Tom” on The Celebrity Apprentice, and mocked actress Marlee Matlin as “retarded” simply because she was deaf.
Burnett declined to make any footage public or to let former contestants out of their nondisclosure agreements. But shortly before Trump was elected president, he did go out of his way to denounce the “hatred, division, and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.” The statement came in the midst of a flood of sexual-misconduct and assault allegations that were publicly made against Trump shortly after the October 2016 publication of the infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” tape.
After Trump won the election, however, Burnett was ready to put all that bigotry and sexism behind him. He buddied back up to Trump and even played a role in…
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